A weekend of yoga and pain relief

Photo: Brian Kest at Thrive Yoga This past weekend, I participated in the multiple-session workshop of Brian Kest at Thrive Yoga. I had made a commitment to Susan Bowen, the studio owner, that I would take photos of the sessions, and I was really looking forward to the event. As it turned out, my brother died on the eve of the workshop. Since the funeral was not until the following Friday, I decided to attend. As I told Susan when I showed up on Friday evening, I wanted to celebrate my brother’s life on the mat, just as I have included him as my yoga intention for the year.

In a way, the physical demands of the Kest workshop were just what I needed. The need to reach beyond my normal edge in my yoga practice meant that my body’s messages overwhelmed the emotional pain of my grief. I had no time to dwell on his death, and when I got home, I had no problem sleeping. Yesterday, I felt so drained and fatigued that I did not go into work, and today, I am dragging again, but I believe it’s more because of my grief and pain from my brother’s death. Last night I could not get to sleep until 4 am.

Because of these considerations, I have not had a chance to comment on the workshop itself. It was just too difficult to focus on putting ideas down on paper. I don’t think I can do more now than jot down some initial ideas and then come back later with something more substantive. Kest leads a physically demanding yoga practice, based on Ashtanga yoga but evolved over 30 years of his own experience. Susan had to wait a full 18-months before she could book a date for him, and we had many people from outside the Thrive Yoga community coming in for the workshop, some as far away as Florida. Many of the participants were repeats, either having taken a class, workshop or retreat previously. His most memorable line was “Some people bring their shit to yoga, and turn yoga into shit.”

One thought on “A weekend of yoga and pain relief

  1. I've had the good fortune to be able to study with Bryan Kest twice at workshops in Germany. I regard him as a genuine yoga master, with great wisdom clearly based on great experience and depth of practice. There's an interview with him on yogapeeps that's worth a listen.

    My condolences regarding your brother.

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